Time: 11:05 - 12:25 (10:05 - 11:25 GMT)
Aircraft: EuroFOX - G-UFOX
Ian is busy this weekend, so I have arranged to take a friends son up. I took his Dad up in early 2008, in fact he was one of my first victims (sorry - that should be passengers). We have planned to take Peter up for ages, but it hasn't happened until now - but now he is at home on the Easter break from uni. Unfortunately (as is a theme so far this year), the forecast is not wonderful - there could be heavy showers coming in, anytime from midday. But again the forecast is rapidly changing, so could even be earlier. I would have liked a trip to the coast, but that would be unwise, but it is good enough for a local flight.
By the time we have prepared the aircraft, the visibility is OK and the cloudbase has lifted enough. We take off from the intersection of runway 26 and climb up towards the north. The cloudbase is giving us an easy 2000', but we use a gap to try climbing higher for a look around and at the clouds. As we get to Hannington Mast we can see Kingsclere - Peter says that he has a friend who lives there, so I drop down for a closer look. Unfortunately, we don't know where in Kingsclere he lives, so Peter just takes some general video. Then we do a pass over the defunct runways of Greenham Common and then round Newbury to have a look at Donnington Castle. Then back south over Highclere Castle.
Still heading south, I decide that it is time for Pete to have a go - well I'm not doing all the work. We start will general controls and straight and level. I know that it is easier for these youngsters to learn the skill, but he is picking it up quickly - quite a natural. We then swiftly move on to turns which also go well. Then we try following a land feature - in this case the train line up to Overton.
Then for a bit of fun, I demonstrate some steep-banked turns which are always fun. We then resume flying south with Peter at the helm, past Bullington cross and then turn east before we get to the Southampton Zone. Past the M3 and have a look at the weird house that seems to have some ancient Grecian ruins built next to it. We can see the rain showers coming in from the west, which gives us a timetable for the rest of the flight. Back west towards the weather, then we have time to go up to Whitchurch before joining overhead at Popham. We do the microlight circuit and have a reasonable landing. We then line-up again for a bit of circuit practice - due to other traffic we have to use the larger GA circuit. Just near touchdown a gust of wind pushes the plane off and it "goes a bit weird". I have no intention of wrestling with it, so I hit the throttle and go-around. Big circuit again and down to a normal landing. It seems that many other people have been having trouble with the slightly strange conditions.
Whilst we are washing the plane down, it starts to rain and then hail - we chose the right time to return to the airfield!
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